President Bush has an aggressive agenda for his trip to Europe during the coming week, including planned talks on a number of Middle East issues.
During an interview at the White House Friday (with European reporters), Mr. Bush said the United States' past disagreements with European allies over the Iraq war do not diminish their shared values.
The president said he has no bitter feelings about French President Jacques Chirac, who strongly opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Mr. Bush said he anticipates finding common ground with Mr. Chirac on such issues as democracy in Lebanon, and the continuing presense of Syrian troops there.
The president says he intends to discuss concerns about peace throughout the Middle East, Iran's nuclear program and the environment during three days of talks with European leaders in Brussels, where he will arrive late Sunday.
Mr. Bush also is visiting Germany for talks on NATO with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has said he feels the trans-Atlantic alliance does not meet the needs of post-Cold War Europe.
Mr. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin also will meet later in the week, in (Bratislava) Slovakia.